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Is it possible for a prophet to add to the Torah, or change any of it? Can a prophet say that God has told him that certain parts no longer apply or are wrong? How do we know?

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The answer to this question is no, as noted by the answerers. A better question is whether a prophet can add a "rabbinic" mitzvah, on which see this article: hakirah.org/Vol%2012%20Krakowski.pdf. Short answer: according to the Rambam, no, but according to some others, yes. –  wfb Feb 20 '13 at 3:00
I'm not sure if this is authoritative enough, but related: The Snake Oven - תנורו של עכנאי, and Not in Heaven. –  Kobi Feb 20 '13 at 7:26
What about God commandment to build beith hamikash in Jerusalem? Or what about God's commandment to the niniveh to do tesuvah? All those are done after the torah. –  Jim Thio Dec 29 '14 at 11:10
@JimThio Why do you say that the commandment to build the Temple came after the giving of the Torah? And in any case, how do either of these change the Torah? –  Daniel Dec 29 '14 at 13:51
No further commandments after the torah. And yet God commanded the niniveh to do tesuvah. That's additional commandment. What am I missing? Does mitvah means everlasting commandments? So commandment toward niniveh doesn't count? –  Jim Thio Jan 15 at 19:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The answer is no. In Yehoshua 23:6, Yehoshua says to the people:

וַחֲזַקְתֶּם מְאֹד--לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת, אֵת כָּל-הַכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה: לְבִלְתִּי סוּר-מִמֶּנּוּ, יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול

Be very strong to protect and do everything that is written in Moshe's Torah. Do not deviate from it to the right or to the left.

In Deuteronomy 4:2

... לֹא תֹסִפוּ, עַל-הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם, וְלֹא תִגְרְעוּ, מִמֶּנּוּ

Do not add onto what I am commanding to you, and do not detract from it...

Proverbs 30:6

אַל-תּוֹסְףְּ עַל-דְּבָרָיו: פֶּן-יוֹכִיחַ בְּךָ וְנִכְזָבְתָּ

Do not add onto [God's] words, lest he test you and you be found to be a liar.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Rambam writes in his Mishneh Torah

לפיכך אם יעמוד איש בין מן האומות בין מישראל ויעשה אות ומופת ויאמר שה' שלחו להוסיף מצוה או לגרוע מצוה או לפרש במצוה מן המצות פירוש שלא שמענו ממשה או שאמר שאותן המצות שנצטוו בהן ישראל אינן לעולם ולדורי דורות אלא מצות לפי זמן היו הרי זה נביא שקר שהרי בא להכחיש נבואתו של משה ומיתתו בחנק על שהזיד לדבר בשם ה' אשר לא צוהו

Therefore, if a person will arise, whether Jew or gentile, and perform a sign or wonder and say that God sent him to:

a) add a mitzvah,

b) withdraw a mitzvah

c) explain a mitzvah in a manner which differs from the tradition received from Moses, or

d) if he says that the mitzvot commanded to the Jews are not forever, but rather were given for a limited time,

he is a false prophet. He comes to deny the prophecy of Moses and should be executed by strangulation, because he dared to make statements in God's name which God never made.

All of these sources clearly show that nothing may be added or subtracted from the Torah. Even someone who claims to be a prophet may never do so, and to attempt to do so will show him to be a false prophet.

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@double aa, I don't get it. –  Seth J Feb 20 '13 at 1:10
@SethJ I think he was just pointing out as an aside that one of the psukim quoted in this answer happens to be the only pasuk in tanakh with a final Pei. –  Daniel Feb 20 '13 at 1:47
So do you still stone people for working on Sabbath now? What happened to that mitzah? Or what about ensuring that a priest is descendant of a priest. –  Jim Thio Sep 25 '13 at 5:38
@JimThio Priests (kohanim) are still determined today by paternal lineage. As far as capital punishment is concerned, we don't say that the mitzvah does not exist anymore. Rather, we don't have a court who is authorized to confer that punishment. Even back when the Sanhedrin was still around, though, capital punishment was only meted out extremely rarely. There are many mitigating factors when it comes to capital crimes, and it would be extremely rare (probably impossible) for someone to actually do something worthy of capital punishment today without any of the mitigating factors applying. –  Daniel Sep 25 '13 at 16:15

The Bavli records (Temurah 16a):

[The verse states: "These are the commandments" (Leviticus 27)] These are the commandments and no prophet is allowed to innovate something from now on.

That said, later authorities do have a number of interesting powers (when not claiming to be doing so under direct divine order) including directing Jews to not perform certain mitzvot when done passively (שב ואל תעשה), removing certain principles from the Torah (יש כח ביד חכמים לעקור דבר מן התורה), redistributing wealth at will (הפקר בית דין הפקר), and temporary permission to violate any prohibition except Avoda Zara (הוראת שעה).

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... none of which is done on the authority of later prophecy. –  Isaac Moses Feb 19 '13 at 18:19
@IsaacMoses I said "when not claiming to be doing so under direct divine order" –  Double AA Feb 19 '13 at 18:23

The 9th Ani Maamin - which are based on the 13 principals that the Rambam in his Hakdama to his Pirush on Perek Chelek in Mesechtas Sanhedrin mentions as the points of belief a Jew must have - states that there will be no changes to the Torah.

אני מאמין באמונה שלימה שזאת התורה לא תהא מוחלפת ולא תהא תורה אחרת מאת הבורא יתברך שמו.


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It states that the Torah won't be replaced. I don't see how that proves things can't change. –  Double AA Feb 19 '13 at 18:49

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